Citation: Respondent 5 / Angeline. "Using E for Creativity and to Treat Depression: An Experience with MDMA (Ecstasy) (exp96999)". Erowid.org. Jul 25, 2012. erowid.org/exp/96999
I have a personal interest in Ecstasy. This is probably what motivated me to take it outside its usual environment so that I can write down how I feel at every stage. Apart from sheer curiosity, over the past year I have used the drug as a stimulant, as an antidepressant, as a creative aid (esp. writing) or just to get my mind going; to think on. The best that I ever felt on ecstasy was something that was not quite happiness nor euphoria, but rather a profound and perfect sense of unity of mind, body, spirit and soul; and I understood in an instant exactly what happiness and being happy involved; and at the same time I was overwhelmed by a hope that I would someday get there. I realised that I was looking for something that few people understand or achieve; something that I understand but haven't achieved and cannot articulate. I am searching for a state of being in which mind, body, spirit and soul are fundamentally indivisible yet each feeds the understanding of the other - a feeling that all the words in the world can only understate. That night I almost found it.
Someday I think I might. It is not something I will find alone, but rather by a dynamic combination of factors which have to be in the right place at the right time. I don't see ecstasy as escapism but rather it helps me on my journey, shows me the direction, or perhaps it helps me to see that direction, and gives me the will to follow it. Ecstasy breaks down mental and emotional inhibitions. Because of this I find I can think about things I wouldn't normally think about, and think about things in ways which I wouldn't normally. I find that I write better, because I can somehow find the words to express what I intend to express, and am also able to admit certain feelings to myself I would normally shy away from. And because I have access to those emotions I am better able to appreciate, understand, play and create music.
matching dose to purpose
I find that taking different amounts is helpful for different purposes. For my weight (90 pounds) I find that for therapeutic purposes usually half a pill (about 50-60mg) does the job; this is the dosage I find which gives minimal speed-like effects and maximal empathic effects. Between 80 to 90 mg my thoughts start to become incredibly lucid and fast-moving - ideal for programming, writing and any other creative process. This is also the dose at which I start to feel jumpy and have feelings of excitement which occur in short sharp bursts. The standard dosage (about 100-135mg or a whole pill) provides a great deal of psychological and physical stimulation - I find this is not good for sit-down activities, because when I do sit down I feel a strange but very pleasant edginess in my joints. I feel the need to tense certain muscles in my arms and legs, and doing so does actually make me 'feel good'. It is when I get out and start dancing that I can think without trying; I become aware of and understand things I didn't before, but mostly things about myself. In this way I feel that Ecstasy is an extremely selfish drug. I don't actually care any more about others; I simply feel secure and relaxed and therefore feel less threatened, and hence better about other people. I think most of us exist in a state of paranoia about others, particularly people who live in big cities.
depression, E and me
I've been suffering from profound clinical depression for close to 4 years. Depression, as I experience it, is characterised by apathy, the sense that everything is an exercise in futility. There's nothing I want to do. And I want nothing because there is nothing to want. Because nothing anyone could give me would make me feel happy again, because nothing in this world can ever fill this void which consumes everything and takes everything away from me. I feel tired, tired, tired, exhausted. I have neither the courage nor the strength to face life. My limbs weigh a ton, and my head is hazy... I feel excluded, isolated... and, despite myself, desperately lonely. Everything, every event in my life will come around and repeat itself in an absurd and senseless infinite loop.
Depression is the dreadful Nothing. It's everything you don't feel, don't think, and don't experience. It is the death of the spirit, death of the soul; it is the black hole which consumes your will to live as well as the desire to die. Six months ago I discovered that E was more effective than all the different antidepressants I had been prescribed. I now take it about once a fortnight and would say that it works every time, but then again I tend to take it in controlled conditions - indoors, at home. I think I've also worked out a 'maximum dosage' and have been careful not to exceed that. I take it on a need basis: half a pill lasts a couple of days at most; a whole one can last for up to a week. I don't fully understand how it works but would very much like to.
The nature of my work is extremely solitary, so I am usually alone when I take E for depression. What normally happens is that I take it, then carry on with whatever it was I was doing (usually a computer-related activity). I don't actually believe it's going to help when I take it, and the initial rush tends to creep up on me when I least expect it. Its as though a torch is flashed around my brain, illuminating my mind's eye, and the spark of life bursts into flame. I feel an injection of tangible joy which revives my senses, fuels my pride and confirms my place and my identity. I see again, I hear again. I am alive. My head clears, and all the activities in my head are fluid, lucid, clear, concise, rational and logical. This sensation, this feeling for which I can find no word, is so real I can touch it and hold it in my hands. It isn't profound or intense, it merely allows me to look at the next person and believe I am as normal as they are, and therefore have a stake in life, in this world. I am overwhelmed by the enormity of this realisation.
These positive feelings are encouraged by taking part in 'normal' activities such as work. It is only afterwards that I look back on the depression and gain insights into it. I feel better able to rationalise and to face up to having been depressed. One thing it certainly has changed is that I no longer live in fear of these bouts of depression. The other way it helps is that it gives me a burst of energy to get out of bed and actually do things, and that in itself goes a very long way towards breaking the cycle of depression. Ecstasy suits certain personalities and not others. Obviously people who have suffered from depression gain a new lease of life from the drug, like myself - it gives new hope and shows you how good you can feel, and how good life can appear to be. And this, I believe, is all it takes; external events, good or bad, don't matter, it's how you perceive them, and your attitude towards them. People can be happy with very little, and very unhappy even when they have everything.
I've also found that people who are emotionally repressed feel a great affinity towards the drug because they tend to either fear or despise their emotions and find them difficult to handle, which itself can be perceived as a personal weakness. Music and writing I've been playing the piano for many years, and find that I play better on E, possibly for two reasons. The first is that I gain a new strength and coordination in my fingers; the second is that I feel better able to concentrate and to feel for what I'm playing, to become entirely absorbed in playing.
I don't feel more creative exactly on E, I simply take the creative process somehow less seriously and attach less importance to it and hence have a far more relaxed attitude towards activities like writing. I'm much less afraid of writing something which is complete crap - I'm less afraid of failure. I don't need to come up with something brilliant to feel good about myself when I'm on the drug, I can write for fun and for sheer enjoyment. Letting your sense of self-worth and self-esteem a function of creative productiveness is symptomatic of insecurity which I find E either relieves temporarily or removes entirely.
my second ecstasy trip, written just afterwards
It took me a while to get going, but when I did, I definitely got going like never before. My limbs felt weightless and I felt so in control of my body, yet without control. I could move in ways I never imagined, and I felt such a unity with the music, as if it was moving me... I've never felt that way before because I've never been particularly active without making an effort. I loved every minute of it, and I didn't want to stop; I felt I could carry on all night, all morning, even though sweat covered every square inch of my body, spilling down the sides of my face, streaming down my neck. My clothes were wet with it. At some point some tall thin bloke tapped me on the shoulder; I looked up at him and he smiled, and gave me a thumbs up signal. I think he liked my dancing. Not that it mattered to me at the time; I was dancing for myself, getting pleasure out of moving to the music and the rhythm - or being moved by it, as the case may be.
I felt incredible. I drowned in the music, and I was lost within the complex web of rhythmic patterns. The music was in my head, subduing yet comforting my rational mind, touching my soul, breaking through all my inhibitions and defences - the barriers of civilisation. Still my awareness was intact, and searching, reaching, probing, pushing and exploring the boundaries of possibility. I felt my body move to a will of its own yet I knew that will was mine, a will, an awareness which had remained dormant and silent for all my previous life, yet always waiting to be released, longing to come into its own. Nothing mattered but moving, where my many separate selves united - meeting and touching. Sewn together by the threads of the rhythm, which flowed in a discrete continuity.
Where the darkness ceased to be a source of fear and uncertainty, yet where the brief flashes of coloured light crystallised on my eyes and melodies trickled through my brain like a stream of living water, soothing and life-giving, powering every step, every glide, every slip, and every slide. I was flying with my feet on the ground, free-floating and wading through every sound, rising up and falling down. I exulted in my apparent weightlessness, delighting in the lightness of control which I executed effortlessly. No light entered my eyes, but I saw everything - time in an instant, the future, past and present.
From Angeline, a 22 year old English woman who works as a research student in computer graphics and virtual reality. Angeline has more of her writings on her site
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